08 Oct 2018
Phrasee pheatures: Dr Neil Yager
Profiles in awesomeness: Meet Phrasee’s Co-Founder and “Chief Scientist” Dr Neil Yager
Phrasee is a special company.
Why? Some people might say it’s because of our industry-leading artificial intelligence marketing language generation and optimization technology, or the ever-growing list of brands availing themselves of our services and singing our praises. However, those people would be wrong.
What really sets Phrasee apart are the amazing people that show up, day in and day out, to help us grow our brand, deliver amazing service to our customers, and make our cutting-edge AI tech work.
One of those amazing people is Dr Neil Yager.
Dr Neil Yager is Phrasee’s Co-Founder and Chief Scientist.
What does Phrasee’s Chief Scientist actually do? We’ll let Neil explain…
“I built Phrasee’s back-end core NLG and AI components, and I ensure these components keep delivering top-notch results and meeting our clients’ needs on a daily basis. I also work with the marketing team to spread the Phrasee message to the world.”
Those “top-notch results” Neil referenced? How about MILLIONS in added incremental revenue for Phrasee partner Virgin Holidays? Yep, Phrasee did that. Dr Neil Yager made sure it did.
Indeed, Dr Neil Yager has played an absolutely crucial role in getting Phrasee to where we are today. He’s developed an entirely new marketing application for artificial intelligence and natural language generation and built the most sophisticated AI-driven language generation and optimization tools in the world.
But is there more to this mysterious AI dynamo than meets the eye?
That’s just what we set out to find out…
Place of birth: Sydney, Australia.
How long have you been with Phrasee: Since the very beginning.
Favourite food: Very large sandwiches.
Children/pets: No pets, just 2 boys – William (who’s 4) and Daniel (who’s 2).
Favourite day off activity: Taking a weekend road trip with the family.
The best thing about working at Phrasee: Getting to bring AI’s newest developments to market is a privilege!
Favourite quote: “The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.” ~ M. Csikszentmihalyi.
Biggest pet peeve: People eating while I’m on the phone with them.
An interesting thing about you: I’ve never used a GIF for any reason before, and I have no intention of doing so in the future.
Describe yourself with a gif: Nice try.
An interview with Dr Neil Yager
How did you wind up being one of Phrasee’s founders?
Parry Malm was a friend of mine from University (I was his best friend’s roommate), we met up for drinks to bounce ideas off each other, as we did regularly, when Parry brought up the original concept for Phrasee. He wasn’t the first person to invite me to build an AI for their idea, but I liked his “you build it, I’ll sell the shit out of it” approach, so I got involved.
Have things turned out the way you expected them to?
No. Not at all. I did not expect Phrasee to last more than 12 months. Statistically very few startups survive the first year. The odds were overwhelmingly against us.
Why should brands use Phrasee?
Because if they don’t they’re leaving money on the table. They aren’t reaching their customer base as effectively as they could be, which is a shame.
What makes Phrasee’s marketing language stand out from that of the competition?
The effort we put into making sure our marketing language fits just right for each of our customers is unmatched by any of our competitors. It makes a big difference to the end product.
Where is Phrasee headed in the years to come?
I would love to start using Phrasee-generated language in completely unexpected places and contexts. That’d be really interesting.
What is your favourite thing about working at Phrasee?
The technology is absolutely fascinating and it’s pretty mega to work within the AI space. It’s constantly evolving and is a hot topic across the industry so I’m loving being a part of that!
What’s it like working with AI?
AI has a potential that nobody can really imagine at this point. I love watching how the field progresses and being this close to the evolution of the technology.
What’s the most exciting thing going on in your life today?
I’m currently setting up a new and very exciting life in Iceland!